This year, I’ve been volunteering with refugee organizations — four altogether — and am always grateful for positive stories about this population. Here’s a story from Sweden.
Bridie Witton writes at the UK’s Independent, “Immigration has helped fuel Sweden’s biggest economic boom in five years, new figures have revealed.
“The Swedish government, whose policies saw the country take in more refugees per capita than any other in Europe last year, helped lower unemployment rates by increased spending on welfare for asylum seekers from war torn countries like Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.
“The move helped the Nordic region’s largest economy expand 4.5 percent on an annual basis in the fourth quarter of 2015, the most in almost five years and more than twice the growth of Germany, according to Bloomberg. Increased consumer spending and borrowing and high house prices also contributed to the boom which, although projected to fade, has consolidated Sweden as one of Europe’s success stories.
“National Institute of Economic and Social Research fellow Jonathan Portes said economies benefitted from more workers, but emphasised the difference between immigrants and refugees.
” ‘What the Swedish experience tells us is that even in the short term, even when you have a very large influx of refugees, there is a perception this is an impossible burden on the state,’ he told The Independent. ‘But in the short term it increases growth.’
“He said the Swedish government needed to have a long-term strategy to successfully integrate refugees and continue the growth.”
Careful planning is needed, for sure, but history shows that an influx of workers with needed skills helps countries grow.
More at the Independent, here.
Sweden took in more refugees per capita than any other country in Europe in 2015.